By Alyssa Alejandro
In the latter part of September, Christine Alexander was officially named Principal of Waialua High and Intermediate School after spending two months in a TA or Temporary Assignment position. For this first time principal, it’s the beginning of a new chapter in her career, and, at the same time, a new start for Waialua High and Intermediate School. Mrs. Alexander has no direct ties to the school or community and is able to look at things from a different perspective. She uses this view to create ideas and discussions on the direction the school is headed. After a few weeks in her new role, she agreed to sit down with Waialuan reporter Alyssa Alejandro to answer a few questions.
What is your educational/teaching background?
I received a Bachelors of Science and Bachelors of Education degrees from the State College of Massachussetts, and a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of La Verne, in California. I have 24 years of teaching experience, 15 of them in the middle school (7th-8th grade), two years teaching 1st grade, and two years teaching kindergarten.
How did you end up as a Temporary Assignment (TA) Principal at Waialua?I was Vice-Principal at Mililani High School for six years and our Complex Area Superintendent, Dr. John Brummel asked if I would come on board and do a TA Principalship here because Ms. Avis Nanbu needed to take some time off for personal matters and do a different job that would give her a little more flexibility – and that’s how it all started.
Why did you apply for the permanent position here at Waialua?
Well once here on campus, and I have been here as a TA for about two months, it really felt like home. I have thoroughly enjoyed the students and the staff. The parents and community were also very supportive and made me feel welcome. I feel like I can make a difference here at Waialua and that’s why I applied for the job.
What were your first impressions of the school?
I have two first impressions. Physically, I was in awe of the beauty of the school campus – it was so serene and I could see the mountains in the background. I loved coming to work every day. The other thing is the students are so respectful and friendly – they go out of their way to say “hello” or “good morning”. I really like that.
What is your vision for Waialua High and Intermediate School?
In the next two or three years, I expect students to talk about the “Waialua Way” with “Bulldog Pride”. I expect them to talk about it with a sense of excellence. I want them to be reaching for the stars and not settling for less. Students and the outside community see the “Waialua Way” as being laid back or lackadaisical and I want that to change. My vision is that the culture here will change so that students strive high and go for the stars.
What are some short term goals that you have?
Well I’d like to provide more opportunities for students as far as courses go. We have put out a survey to students to see where interest lies and we will be adding a few more courses to the schedule for next year.
And your long term goals?
We will continue down that path to offer more choices for students by having early college opportunities through the University of Hawaii and it’s community colleges. UH will bring college courses and programs here to our campus so students are able to earn college credit while still in high school. We ware also looking at separating the intermediate school from the high school – which is going to be quite an undertaking and will take a few years to iron out – but I believe it will be well worth it.
Will there be any improvements to the facilities of the school?
We are going to be undergoing a football field renovation which starts at the end of October. We have a whole school renovation which will be starting next summer where the state will be painting all the classrooms, redoing floors, and sprucing things up. We also have heat abatement and air conditioning that the state is going to provide for WHIS. We are on the priority list for heat abatement and are waiting for the monies to be released so the air conditioning can be installed.
What would you like to say to the students, parents, and community as your term as principal starts?
I would say welcome to Waialua High and Intermediate School! Please come to the campus to visit and talk with me. To the students, you are always welcome to come into my office and talk story. If you see me anywhere on campus, stop and chat with me. For the parents and community, we will be doing “Second Cup of Coffee” so you come in, talk, share suggestions, and keep the lines of communication open so everyone will feel welcome at Waialua High and Intermediate School.